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Police Blotter: Alleged Flagstaff robber arrested in Gallup

LOS ANGELES

A Klagetoh, Arizona, man was arrested on Friday by federal marshals after a four-month search revealed he frequently traveled to Gallup for pleasure. The man, identified as Isaiah Peshlakai, no age given, was wanted for a parole violation as well as his involvement in an incident that occurred in Flagstaff on Jan. 31, according to documents filed May 29 in the federal district court in Albuquerque.

The court records said Peshlakai is currently on probation after being convicted in a federal court in Phoenix for aggravated assault.

One of the conditions of that probation was not to commit any further crimes during the probation period. Peshlakai was serving his probation in Winslow but the FBI’s investigation of an armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon that occurred in Flagstaff on Jan. 31 led agents to believe he was involved in that incident and had fled Flagstaff to avoid being captured. The investigation was turned over to the U.S. Marshal’s Office.

Investigators there soon narrowed the search area to around Ganado and Gallup. They also learned that he had ditched his own cell phone because it could be used to determine his location and instead was using a friend’s cell phone. One of the persons interviewed during the investigation was Peshlakai’s girlfriend in Winslow.

She told agents that Peshlaikai had gone to live at his grandmother’s residence in Klagetoh. She also said that Peshlakai was using his grandmother’s cell phone and gave them that number. Agents then contacted Cellular One and learned that Peshlakai was making trips between Klagetoh and Gallup. Federal agents then had a federal judge in Albuquerque issue a warrant that allowed them to arrest him in New Mexico and using his new cell phone number, they were able to track him to Gallup on Friday and arrested him on probation violation charges. More charges may also be pending in Arizona in connection with the armed robbery.

Shiprock man faces 10 more years in prison By Bill Donovan Special to the Times LOS ANGELES – A Shiprock man, who spent almost 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in 2007, now faces up to 10 more years for failing to register as a sex offender.

Arthur Ben Peshlakai entered his plea in federal district court in Albuquerque on Monday. No sentencing date has been set by the court. Peshlakai pleaded guilty to sexual assault although he originally claimed that the sexual contact with the accused had been consensual.

According to the government’s case against him, the accuser had gone to a bar in Farmington with her girlfriend to meet guys. While at the bar, the accuser purchased, according to court records, several drinks for Peshlakai. After they were through, they had gone outside and Peshlaikai was set to drive home when he discovered that his car had been stolen. The accuser then agreed to drive him back to Shiprock in her car.

The accuser told tribal police that she was reluctant to drive him home but he became very persistent. She also told police that as she drove Peshlakai soon fell asleep. When they got to Shiprock, the accuser said they went to a hill near his house and parked because his girlfriend was living with him and she was pregnant. Once they parked, she said he began hitting her before sexually attacking her. Peshlakai denied assaulting her.

Afterwards, the accused admitted driving Peshlakai home. She said she then drove to the police station in Shiprock but was too embarrassed to go in. She did later report that she had been assaulted.

On Dec. 27, 2007, Peshlakai was sentenced to 168 months in prison followed by three years of supervision. After his release, he was required to register as a sex offender. Upon his release from prison in July of 2017, he moved to Albuquerque and registered with the Bernalillo sheriff’s office. Under the terms of that registration, he was required to inform authorities within 10 days of his change of residency.

Court records said he moved out of his apartment on Menaul Avenue in Albuquerque on Jan. 26, 2020, and failed to inform the sheriff’s office. He was arrested by federal agents on Feb. 18.

As part of his plea agreement, federal prosecutors have agreed to recommend a reduced sentence. No date has been set for sentencing yet.

Coronavirus delays sentences in 2 DV cases

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

LOS ANGELES — The coronavirus crisis is delaying the sentences of two Navajo defendants in the federal district court in Prescott. This includes Irvin Yazzie, who has pleaded guilty to domestic assault through strangulation of a household member.

Yazzie was arrested in July 2019 at the residence of his girlfriend, listed in court records as D.M., shortly after a July 17 incident where he was accused of putting his hands around her neck during an argument and choking her. At the time of his arrest he was also charged by federal authorities with domestic assault resulting in substantial body injury. That charge was dropped as a result of the plea agreement.

Yazzie’s sentencing was to take place on May 29 but that has now been postponed to Aug. 8. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years but prosecutors have agreed because of his guilty plea to recommend a reduced sentence below the maximum.

Another defendant, Tyrone D. Yazzie, also a resident of the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, has seen his sentencing delayed. He was charged with 11 serious felonies, including kidnapping and assault on a domestic partner by strangulation, in connection with a series of crimes that occurred over a six-month period in 2018 and 2019. According to his plea agreement, the first attack took place on Oct.18, 2018.

During that assault, Tyrone Yazzie admitted to hitting his domestic partner with his fists and then attempting to strangle her. The second attack occurred on Nov. 23, 2018. He was accused of striking her several times, causing her to receive numerous injuries including a broken jaw and a broken arm. On April 9, 2019 he admitted hitting her and taking her to the ground at which time he began strangling her.

He said in his plea agreement he stopped when he heard someone call his name. He said he approached her again several minutes later and put another stranglehold on her, causing her to lose consciousness. When she woke up, he said he was hitting and kicking her.

He said he then forced her against a tree and began strangling her again. She then lost consciousness again as he continued to hit her on the head. Her left arm, which had been broken in the previous instance, was injured again as well as a number of other injuries including a broken nose and a number of contusions.

Before the plea agreement, Tyrone Yazzie was looking at a possible 25 years in prison but as a result of the agreement, in which he pleaded guilty to three assault charges, the other eight charges, including kidnapping, were dropped. These charges now put him at risk of a maximum 10 years in prison.

Because of his decision to accept responsibility, the prosecutor has agreed to recommend a further reduction in his sentence. He is now scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 4.



About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.

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